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Dow Jones today, August 1, 2014: U.S. markets slumped again Friday despite positive news on the employment front. The U.S. economy added another 209,000 jobs in July, a sixth-consecutive monthly gain. However, the estimate fell short of economists' expectations, and the unemployment rate increased to 6.2% on more Americans searching for work. The S&P 500 posted its largest weekly loss since April.
Here's the scorecard from today's trading session:
Dow: 16,493.37, -69.93 (-0.42%)
Nasdaq: 4,352.64, -17.13 (-0.39%)
S&P 500: 1,925.25, -5.52 (-0.29%)
Now, here are the top stories from today:
- Power Outage: Shares of Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) were down a shave after the company reported its second major outage in recent months. Back in June, Facebook users in Tokyo, London, New Delhi, and Moscow faced a 30-minute blackout. Shares are still up more than 32% on the year, as the company continues to show positive user growth and revenues. Meanwhile, Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) attempted to capitalize on its rival's downtime and drive online traffic with the hash-tag #facebookdown. The poke did little to distract investors from the fact that Twitter's shares were down nearly 2.5% today, just days after soaring more than 30% in after-hours trading immediately following an earnings beat.
- Clean Profits: Shares of The Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) rose by more than 3% on news that the company beat profit expectations. The globe's largest household products manufacturer said that its fourth-quarter profit rose by 38%. The company reported increased profit of $2.58 billion, up from $1.88 billion last year.
- Buffett's Big Bet: After the bell, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A; BRK.B) will report earnings. Consensus estimates expect Warren Buffett's firm to release adjusted earnings of $1.66 per share on sales of $48.87 billion. The earnings announcement comes on the same day that Direxion Investments unveiled plans to create the iBillionaire ETF, which will trade under the ticker "IBLN." The fund will attempt to emulate the performance of long-term holdings by billionaire investors like Warren Buffett and Carl Icahn, pulling investment ideas from quarterly reports released by these titans of Wall Street.
- The Hawks Attack: In a week during which a high level of data was reported, investors were seeking some greater insight into when the U.S. Federal Reserve would raise interest rates and end its stimulus efforts to propel the economy. Both Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher and Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser – the two true hawks on the Federal Open Market Committee – said today in separate interviews that they supported interest rate hikes sooner rather than later. However, it remains to be seen how this will play out given that both Fisher and Plosser will have ended their terms by the time interest rates would likely be increased.
- Here We Go: The day after Argentina defaulted on its bonds for the second time in 13 years, the nation received more bad news today from a U.S. judge. In an effort to extend time to meet their payment obligations, Argentina filed a complaint against the mediator that worked between the nation and the hedge funds to which payments were due, calling the mediator "harmful and prejudicial." A U.S. judge rejected the request to deny the mediator's decision. Argentina stocks fell by 9% after the default yesterday. It is likely that the nation will have to devalue its currency in the coming weeks in an effort to reduce its debt burden, a problem that could end in a repeat of the unrest the nation faced in 2001.
Now our experts share some of the most important investment moves to make based on today's market trading – for Money Morning Members only: